At Calvert Island’s West Beach on BC’s Central Coast, the pounding waves and raw energy of the Pacific Ocean have ground the sand fine and cast up all manner of  flotsam, including these bull kelp bladders. With their bulbous shapes and frosting of sand, they remind me of Christmas ornaments.

Our visits to West Beach have been welcome highlights when we’ve been boating along the Central Coast. Most of the shorelines in that part of the world are steep and afford no walking opportunities, except for estuarine areas, which happen to be prime grizzly bear habitat. So for exercise we tend to go paddling – limiting our shore time to brief lunch stops in those instances when we can find flat enough spots to land.

After many consecutive days aboard the boat our legs are itching for movement, which is one reason West Beach is so special. A short but lovely trail, partly boardwalk, leads from the sheltered anchorage at Pruth Bay through the forest across Calvert Island (thankfully a grizzly-free zone) to its wide open west side. There, the long stretch of white sand is edged by dunes and weather-sculpted cliffs and the walking is wonderful. In addition to the long stretch of open beach which makes you want to kick up your heels and run, at low tide you can wander through the gaps between cliff faces, pass beside a veritable sea of boulders and get a great view of the abundant marine life in the tide pools. The last time we were there, we saw fresh wolf tracks in the sand.

The weather has been overcast with a few drops of rain whenever we’ve been there, but that hasn’t dampened our enthusiasm for West Beach one iota. It’s a great place for beachcombing: natural treasures abound, all frosted by the fine coating of sand that’s delivered relentlessly by westerly winds and waves. Although I’ve only been there in summer (or what passes for “summer” in that part of the world), West Beach has had a “Christmasy” kind of feeling for me, thanks to the brightly frosted bulbs and garlands of kelp that decorate the beach – along with the very specialness of any day spent in such a wonderful place.

A few other images from West Beach and Calvert Island – click for larger view:
Castaways West Beach Walk Boulder Alley
 Colonial Life (Anemones) Sand Wrapped Stranded
The Getaway Boulder Alley (detail) Creased by Time

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About Laurie MacBride, Eye on Environment

Photographer focused on nature and nautical on the BC coast

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